• Slips of the Nib
    Jul 23, 1997

    Even Homer nods! You’ve set such good standards that even a slight oversight jars. In your July 9 issue, there are two gems, one a rare one and the other not so readily noticeable. First the rare one: "He was to retire on February 31, 1997" (Cash Trail Leads to Laloo) and then: "an associate of the Rurias of Manchester" (Pound-Wise Friendship). The name is Ruias.

    Bhanu K. Sampat, Calcutta

  • Fair and Square
    Jul 23, 1997

    The basic principle guiding marriage and talaq in Islam (How Many Talaqs?, July 9) is to make marriage and married life easy. If Islam has given the husband the right to pronounce talaq unilaterally, it has also given the woman the right to ‘delegated talaq’ in which the wife, before her marriage, makes the husband delegate to her the right to divorce him at her wish. Sadia Dehlvi’s agreement with her husband is a case in point.

    Sayeedur Rahman N., Bangalore

    Your article brings out in sad detail the plight of divorced Muslim women. The Indian society should provide sustenance, welfare and job opportunities to these victims so that they can lead an independent, dignified life. Merely blaming the Shariat won’t help.

    Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai

  • Much Maligned Prince
    Jul 23, 1997

    Ajit Bhattacharjea is patently unfair to Maharaja Hari Singh when he says he retained a bevy of concubines at home and abroad (Princely Threats, July 2). Hari Singh could be faulted on many counts, but he was never a womaniser—though the British blackmailed him in London in the Mr X case, in which he was alleged to have a secret British mistress. Is Bhattacharjea mistaking Hari Singh for Sheikh Abdullah, a legendary playboy? Abdullah was found smuggling in women during his jail term in Bhaderwah in 1946.

    T. Kurasu, New Delhi

  • The Peerless Bomb
    Jul 23, 1997

    Your piece on Peerless (Waiting to Explode, July 2) made interesting, if somewhat, frightening reading. Are we to believe that a scam of much bigger proportion than CRB is in the making? If so, what are the RBI and finance ministry doing about it? Will they wake up after the till is empty and the thief bolted? Let the government step in right away and nationalise the company before further damage is done to gullible investors.

    Robin Sinha, Calcutta

    With mere cosmetic changes in the Peerless board—given its poor management, underemployed field force, poor returns on investment, mismanagement of funds and the sorry state of its finances—the RBI and the CBI should step in to protect the savings of millions. Promoter S.K. Roy’s shares must be frozen immediately.

    Sujit Bose, Calcutta

  • Right Man, Wrong Ways
    Jul 23, 1997

    K.R. Narayanan deserves to occupy India’s highest office (Lonely Trek to Raisina Hill, July 2). But the events preceding his nomination, though they don’t underrate his suitability for the post, were discouraging. It’s a discredit for a deserving leader when his caste becomes a criterion for politicians to support him. It reflects the poverty of India’s political community and a paucity of leaders with stature, and it will indirectly undermine the authority of the office itself.

    Nilay V. Anjaria, Ahmedabad

  • One Move Forward
    Jul 23, 1997

    Your cover story Vanity Fair (July 9) was a well-timed one. Going beyond the superficial facts, it symbolises the growing inclination of contemporary men and women to venture into fresh territory, whether career or fashion, regardless of antiquated social demarcations. This certainly is a healthy attitude, providing a positive indication of things to come—more of mutual understanding and empathy, and less of gender wars!

    Sudeep Ralhan, Delhi

    Your cover photograph was in bad taste. It may boost the sale of your magazine, as very few magazines have depicted a nude male on their covers. But it really put me off.

    Haridas Nair, Thane

    Your cover story read more like a sponsored feature from glitzy advertisers promising better sex with apparently wanton women if only the target male would use their product or service. Nothing is impossible if you have a bath every now and then, hop in at your barber’s for a haircut maybe once in two months and chew your nails if you can’t find the nail-cutter. Hype here is like the Marlboro man: all he got was lung cancer for his efforts to persuade a few generations that smoking made you better and more successful.

    Veeresh Malik, New Delhi

  • Left Nowhere
    Jul 23, 1997

    While Brazilian lensman Sebastiao Salgado was simply superb in capturing tribal Bihar’s traumatic tryst with ‘industrialisation’, the cover story on Bihar’s political turmoil (Laloo’s Last Stand) was very disappointing.

    I doubt if your story was filed from Patna. Otherwise, how could you fail to grasp that the demand for Laloo’s resignation is being simultaneously raised by two distinct platforms—a 15-party Left-democratic alliance and the BJP-Samata combine? The coming together, for the first time, of three principal communist parties of India—the CPI, the CPI(M) and the CPI(ML)—under the banner of this 15-party front marks a promising turn in the ongoing political polarisation in Bihar. But unfortunately, in this 15-party front, your article lumps "the ultra-Left CPI(ML)" with the BJP. Glossing over the Left-Right divide and clubbing together all so-called ultras may be good centre-centre politics, but it’s certainly substandard journalism. Something we do not yet associate with Outlook.

    Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI(ML) politburo, New Delhi

  • Skirting the Issue
    Jul 23, 1997

    Apropos More of Less (June 25), I really appreciate the disciplinary guideline laid down by the St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, and J.B. Petit school. We should remember that we are Indians, who give their women a very high, almost godly, status, and do not reduce them to objects for sexual gratification. Why are we losing our cultural heritage when the West itself is looking east for values?

    Rohit Raina, Jabalpur

  • Not in September
    Jul 23, 1997

    Jyoti Basu was born on July 8, 1914, and not September 8 as mentioned in Fading Red (June 25). It’s a rare distinction to be the executive head of an Indian state for 20 years. Basu rightly deserves a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. The CPI(M) gained maximum benefit from his long innings, but how far the state and its people benefited is open to question.

    Nirmalendu Chakraborty, Cooch Behar

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